DVLA – Good News!

EU changes night-time hypos driving rules for people with diabetes

The European Commission has made changes to the driving rules in relation to severe hypoglycaemia when people are asleep.

As we are all aware, the EU Directive introduced in 2011 ruled that people using insulin who have one or more severe hypos in any period of 12 months have to inform the DVLA and as a result will have their driving licence revoked. A severe hypo (low blood glucose level) is defined as one that has to be treated with the assistance of another person.

One of the major problems with this rule is that there has been no differentiate between day and night hypos, despite night hypos not affecting the ability to drive the next day.  This has resulted in people with diabetes losing their driving licence unnecessarily.

Experts review the Directive

Last year experts from across Europe reviewed the Directive and overwhelming voted for amendments. The European Commission has responded and, at the end of March, announced that recurrent night hypos will no longer be included in the ‘one or more’ hypos in the 12 month period.

Over the last 5 years IDDT and other charities have pointed out how unfair the 2011 Directive has been in terms of night hypos and of course we have questioned whether it was based on any evidence. Obviously not!

The EU Commission will be asking the DVLA to make the necessary legislative changes by January 1st 2018.

What is the present situation?

Until the law is changes the 2011 Directive still applies and the inclusion of night hypos in the ‘one or more’ hypos will continue and people have to abide by this.

IDDT has expressed the view to the DVLA that the amendments to the law need to be made as a matter of urgency to prevent people losing their licences unfairly during this interim time.

Comment:

We are sure that more details will become available in the coming months because questions undoubtedly arise from these changes. For example, if people have lost their driving licence during the coming months because of a night hypo, will they be eligible to re-apply immediately? What about people who have lost their licence due to night hypos during the past 5 years (and possibly their job), now apparently unnecessarily?